Service industry workers and the unions representing them scored victory at City Hall Monday as the City Council unanimously approved a new secure scheduling ordinance in Seattle.
Workers at some of Seattle’s largest restaurants and retailers will be paid extra for short notice schedule changes and on-call shifts once the law goes into effect in July 2017. Supporters say it will offer a much-needed level of predictability for hourly workers, especially those with children or those attending school.
The law will apply to restaurants and retailers with 500 or more employees in Seattle or nationally. Full service restaurants would also need to have 40 or more locations worldwide.
Employers will be restricted from scheduling “clopenings,” where employees work closing and opening shifts back-to-back, unless an employer requests it. Workers will be required to have at least ten hours between shifts. Employers would also be required to offer existing employees additional hours before new employees are hired.
Fines of up to $1,000 per violation of the law could be assessed on employers. The city’s Office of Civil Rights would be responsible for enforcing the rules. Seattle will be the second major city in the U.S. to enact a secure scheduling law after San Francisco passed a similar law in 2014.
Workers and organizers with the group Working Washington packed the City Council chambers Monday, holding #ourtimecounts signs and erupting in cheers as the measure was passed. Labor groups and City Council member Kshama Sawant hailed the law as the latest victory for workers jump started by the $15 an hour minimum wage law.
A group opposing the measure, called Full Service Workers of Seattle, had formed to give voice to service industry workers concerns that the law may ban what they see as significant benefits to their jobs, namely the ability to pick up shifts and change hours on the fly.
Mayor Ed Murray is expected to sign the law next week.
Rezone at 23rd and Union
The City Council also approved a contract rezone for the northwest corner of 23rd and Union, changing the allowable building height from 40-feet to 65-feet. The rezone request from Lake Union Partners is key to the developer’s plan to build a six-story, “market-rate apartment building” planned to stand 65-feet tall and include 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail.